Review: Taking the Dare
Taking the Dare by Lee Brazil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dan, why are you such a manipulative bastard? You are a miserable piece of work. Dan Blake is the last Blake brother without a mate. He's the second son of three. Since Misha is the youngest but with a different mother, Dan is the child without a dedicated loving parent. After I learned more about Dan's hang ups, I shed a tear for him. It must hurt to be the odd man out. His mother loved his oldest brother best. His father loved his younger brother best. His stepmother loved her son, Misha, the youngest brother, best. Who loved Dan the best? Which parent favoured Dan the most? From Dan's perspective, no one - he was always second best.
I can't imagine what it is like to feel second best. To do your best and be almost good enough yet not quite is rather ego shattering. No one remembers the honourable mention. We are a society focused on winners and the number one spot. This is where Dan's lover Morgan Hawke comes in. Dan is Morgan's quiet dirty little secret. They have been lovers for over three years while Morgan's been married to a woman.
Why Dan is involved with a married man is beyond me. He already feels like a second place child, now in his love life, he wants to be relegated to mistress status? I don't care that Morgan's wife is openly having affairs with other men. It still doesn't seem right. This is making a total mockery of marriage and I don't like it. When we learn the reason for Morgan's continued marital state, I'm further disgusted. I'm sure people do this in real life and I am going to be judgmental here. I find these reasons appalling and shallow. When the reasons come to light for Dan, he feels cheated. I would feel the same.
I do like Morgan. He's a man who's mixed up and stuck in a rut. He tries to do the right thing yet does it all wrong. I guess that's the problem with actors. Like Morgan says, he can only say things well when it's memorized lines. He's incapable of communicating effectively with his own words. How sad is this? I feel bad for Morgan because from his perspective, Dan is bipolar in the worst ways. We never knew what would flip Dan's switch. I felt like I was walking on eggshells with Morgan because I didn't know when Dan would suddenly be angry Dan instead of loving Dan.
I spent most of the book frustrated and angry. Both men did a great job of sabotaging their relationship. Their immaturity and inability to communicate drove me crazy. I wanted to slap both of them upside the head. Better yet, I could take them and clunk their heads together in hopes of their stupidity shaking loose from their brains. I still enjoyed this book because neither man was intentionally malicious. They were both casually insensitive. I'm not sure which is worse.
My heart hurt for them. I yearned to see them resolve in a happily ever after. I wanted to see them figure out how much they damage they were causing each other. Fortunately, Mr. Brazil satisfied my request. Both acknowledged the errors of their way. Their growth in this story brought a weary sigh and smile to my face. I recommend this story to m/m lovers who enjoy their flawed characters to grow into better people.
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